Salmon Arm  

Communication issues pose problem for those in North Shuswap

Cut off by wildfire, outages

Left without power or easy road access, a North Shuswap resident says the biggest threat to her community is a lack of communication.

Nena Jocic-Andrejevic, a resident of St. Ives, told Castanet she feels residents in the North Shuswap have been largely forgotten by the outside world.

"They're not thinking of people in North Shuswap, not having internet and having to communicate only through cellular," she said.

While St. Ives isn't under an evacuation order, the Squilax-Anglemont road that connects the community to Highway 1 remains closed to the public, cutting off the community.

Jocic-Andrejevic said many locals have chosen to remain in the area, opting to stay out of fear of looters.

She said she feels getting reliable information has become increasingly difficult on social media.

"It's all word of mouth, and the other thing is social media, which has so much misinformation," said Jocic-Andrejevic.

"We don't even bother with social media — we just ignore it because we don't get the right info."

Jocic-Andrejevic said the remaining community in St. Ives is quite close-knit and is able to share much of the information they find, but she has noticed many people in the area are having trouble finding accurate sources.

"As far as Anglemont is concerned, there are, I think, at least anywhere from 500 to 1000 people there who have a real problem knowing what is going on," said Jocic-Andrejevic.

Jocic-Andrejevic said most residents in St. Ives are using generators for power, fueled by propane brought over on a barge.

While the generators can be used to charge smartphones, residents are still left without the internet and are seeing their cellular charges skyrocketing, according to Jocic-Andrejevic.

According to BC Hydro, the outage that affects the Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont, and St. Ives communities is affecting around 2,000 customers.

BC Hydro said during a public information meeting hosted by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District on Friday that it will take weeks to rebuild and repair power lines and poles.

Jocic-Andrejevic said the lack of communication to residents about where to find reliable information has been most difficult for the community.

"We're not threatened by fire," she said. "We're threatened by the fact that we're cut off."

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